Whitchurch, Shropshire

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Black Bear Inn, Whitchurch, Shropshire.jpg
Black Bear Inn
Grid reference: SJ541415
Location: 52°58’8"N, 2°40’58"W
Population: 8,944
Post town: Whitchurch
Postcode: SY13
Dialling code: 01948
Local Government
Council: Shropshire
North Shropshire

Whitchurch is a market town in Shropshire, hard by the borders with Flintshire to the west and Cheshire to the north. It claims to be the oldest continuously inhabited town in Shropshire, having been a Roman town.[1] According to the 2001, the population of the town is 8,673, with a more recent estimate putting the population of the town at 8,934.[2]


Whitchurch was founded by the Romans around 52 or 70 AD, and was called Mediolanum, meaning The place in the middle of the plain: a name shared with Milan in northern Italy. The town was located on a major Roman route between Deva (Chester) and Viroconium (Wroxeter) and Roman artefacts can be seen at the Whitchurch Heritage Centre.[3]

The name "Whitchurch" however is English, and means simply "White Church", which refers to a church built in Norman days made from white stone. It is one of many towns in eh British Isles beaing the same name and all with the same derivation.

The current parish church is an impressive building, St Alkmund's. It was built in 1712 of red sandstone and stands on the site of the earlier Norman church. It is an important Grade I listed building.

Road and rail

Whitchurch is a crossroads for roads from Nantwich, Chester and Shrewsbury, bypassed though by the A41 / A49 since 1992.

The town has a station on the former London and North Western (later part of the LMS) line from Crewe (the Welsh Marches Line) toward Cardiff. It was once the junction for the main line of the Cambrian Railways, but the section from Whitchurch to Welshpool (Buttington Junction) by way of Ellesmere, Whittington, Oswestry and Llanymynech, closed in 1965.

Whitchurch has its own short arm of the Llangollen Canal but is not a key stopping place for boaters as the arm ends about a mile from the town centre.